I’ll take advantage of the fact that I’m posting on the first of April to consider April Fool’s Day, as it’s called in many English-speaking countries, and April Fish, as I may now think of it ever after.
From what I can tell, in France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, the pranks and jokes that happen on April 1st can lean in a fishy direction. I found some lovely vintage postcards that bear the idea out:
I gather that sticking a paper fish to someone’s back and waiting until they notice is one manifestation–I don’t know how else fish are likely to show up. The idea of something being fishy, meaning suspect, seems like it could fit here, but I’m guessing it’s a coincidence. I’ll put it on my list of etymological research projects.
For an example of an April Fool’s trick on a rather large scale, I bring you this BBC broadcast from 1957, back in the day when pasta was uncommon in the UK.
Whether you call it April Fool’s Day or poissins d’avril, have you been involved in a really top-notch prank, either as perpetrator or victim?
[Images: postcardy.blogspot.com, thegraphicsfairy.com, Vintage Lulu on Flickr]